Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – I Support Creativity

Name: Lauryn-Maggie Arenee Smith
From: Saint Petersburg, Florida
Grade: 11
School: Saint Petersburg Collegiate High School
Votes: 0

Support Creativity

In terms of volunteering, there is an extreme demand to give the care to
the community, or even areas on a larger scale. To me, volunteer work
is helping the incoming generation learn to only be who they desire
to be, and not what societal expectations try to mold them into.

Not only do I volunteer to satisfy the graduation requirements of my
school, but I volunteer because the feeling of knowing I have made a
difference provides the greatest feeling of contentment that cannot
be replicated.

I have chosen to volunteer in youth art programs at Morean Arts Center
for Clay over the summer in their summer camp geared toward artistic
freedom and expression. I chose to volunteer here because I was
always told that pursuing art is not practical, and if I wanted any
form of support, that I couldn’t have such a “free” profession.
So to be able to tell children that they
be who they want, make what they want, and let their imaginations
fly; makes me feel like their mindset will not immediately be

On average, each week I volunteer for about 38 hours. Accumulating more
than 100 hours, I have satisfied my requirement, but I feel motivated
to keep helping out. As a volunteer at the Clay Center during summer
camp, my responsibilities include encouraging students to sculpt and
create artwork that they enjoy, collecting artwork at the end of each
day at camp, making sure all clay, glazes, and paintbrushes are clean
and in place, loading the kilns for pottery to be fired, and
unloading the kiln to return the finished artwork to each student at
the end of the week.

The biggest challenge as a volunteer is having to explain to certain
students why they did not receive any/much artwork back at the end of
every week, knowing that it was too dense when placed in the kiln and
ended up exploding. Seeing the devastated look on their face that the
work they put in so much time and effort into is destroyed is
heartbreaking and unfixable. On the other end of the spectrum, it is
the most satisfying to see the children’s faces after they have
glazed their artwork after the first firing, and when they see their
final piece it is vibrant, glossy, and original, just in the form
that the child expected it to be. The joy that is visible on their
faces is something that cannot be replaced, and knowing I took part
of it makes the feeling even greater.

I have learned a lot from completing volunteer work at the Center for
Clay during the summer. One of which is the fact that encouragement
is the greatest factor in making sure the child is happy with
themselves and their artwork when all is said and done. Built-up
confidence is what is lacking in society today to face what is
believed to be “normal,” and change it into something that is not
only original, but personal.

One day, I hope to better explain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and
Schizophrenia in the practice that is better known as Neurological
Psychology. This field does not align with what I currently am doing
in my volunteer work, but I may apply the principles that I am
learning when I do hopefully enter the field of my choice. One thing
that can be applied is my ability to care for others, which is key
when it comes to researching diseases and conditions that may not
affect me personally. Having a sense of empathy and love for and
towards others will move me forward in what I hope to be my future
profession as well as in my volunteer work.

When I talk about “moving forward,” the first thing that comes to mind
is adaptation. In a forever-changing world, it is crucial to be able
to change one’s perspective. My activities are forward looking
because I am helping to alter the idea that art is not practical,
even though many people believe otherwise. I seek to change the idea
that the incoming generation has to be plagued and harassed by so
many expectations that they lose themselves and who they want to be
by encouraging personal expression.

To return in the future to see how my work has affected others, I
believe I would see more local artists being supported, and more high
school students interacting in the art community, and more children
being willing to express themselves, because my generation pushed a
movement forward that encouraged such a beautiful thing.

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